Friday, March 14, 2008

The Green Flag Begins In Florida

After living here for so many years, I've noticed one certain thing about motorsports , and the state of Florida. Just about every series in North America, opens their respective series here...just think about it.

  • The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for the Grand AM Rolex Series started this past January in Daytona Beach...
  • The Daytona 500, for NASCAR starts a few weeks later in the same place
  • The AMA Superbikes started there in Daytona as well, during bike week
  • The 12 Hours of Sebring Starts Tomorow, in Sebring, FL for the American Le Mans Series, with the SCCA Speed World Challenge & Star Mazda Series
and a few weeks after that?

The Indy Racing League / Champ Car World Series Opens their season in Homestead, followed by a race in the streets of St. Petersburg a week later. I know its obviously because of weather reasons..I mean, there's no way the IRL can start at Indianapolis in March, as much as Tony George may love that idea..but usually at this time of year the only thing running at Indy is a snow plow. same goes for every other series and track out there north of Daytona.

and knowing that alone makes me kinda happy, at least for a brief time before spring comes for the rest of the country, the ice thaws, and racing resumes in other parts of the country & Canada, that I can see the best racing here in the sunshine state, and speaking of which - I will not be posting anything here tomorrow, because I will actually be attending the 12 Hours of Sebring for the very first time ever in my life. I had a chance to go to an ALMS event in Miami back in 2002, but circumstances held me back from going. and I refuse to be denied. Also heading down to Homestead for the IRL season opener as well, in 2 weeks time. Peace Out, everybody

Photo Credit :

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Kyle Busch, Celebrating his win in the Kobalt Tools 500 @ the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Toyota becomes the first Japanese manufacturer to win in an official NASCAR points race

Some fans, teams, and drivers didn't want it to happen...but it finally did!! Toyota won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with Joe Gibbs Racing Driver Kyle Busch, followed by his teammate, Tony Stewart. By doing this, they became the first Japanese manufacturer to win in NASCAR, have a solid 1-2 finish, and the first foreign born manufacturer to win, since Al Keller's win in a Jaguar during a NASCAR road race held @ New Jersey's Linden Airport in 1954:

Al Keller, Posing with his Jaguar at Linden Airport, Linden, NJ

It really amazes me that many NASCAR fans in the US didn't know of this fact until the win, and even before - when Toyota first came in the cup series. many from who I've talked to have said words like "it's Un-American","we don't want foreigners in an American series", or "I hope they fail" I personally have been a supporter of Toyota for the fact that they're different, and its refreshing to see the Camry - an American made car( Made in Kentucky), compared to the Ford Fusion (Made in Sonora, Mexico) and the Dodge Charger (Made in Ontario, Canada) so why do fans hate an American made car? The simple reason is because it has a foreign badge, and to be that's the dumbest & poorest excuse to even come close to hating a car, and a manufacturer that has every right to run a racing series in a country where their cars are being sold. I'm glad that NASCAR themselves saw this, and knew it was time for a change, and that they knew of Toyota's successful track record before coming into the series. here's a just few of them:

  • 2003 Indianapolis 500 winners (finished 1-2)
  • 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Manufacturer's Champion
  • Engine/Chassis Supplier to CART/Champ Car, Toyota Atlantic Series, Baja 1000, Formula 1, the World Rally Championship, & the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Thank you NASCAR, by stepping into the 21st century and making this win possible

Photos Courtesy of Toyota & the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Racing News & Notes - March 9, 2008...

French manufacturer Peugeot getting ready to run the 12 Hours of Sebring - March 15, 2008


Sprint Cup:

Today's race for the is the Kobalt Tools 500, from Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Jeff Gordon is on the pole position for today's race

Craftsman Trucks:

Friday Night, kyle Busch pulled away from Ron Hornaday to win the American Commercial Lines 200, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch is currently at the top of the points standings for the second consecutive week

Nationwide Series:

Matt Kenseth wins the Nicorette 300, from Atlanta Motor Speedway , holding off Kevin Harvick in a green-white-checkered finish

Indy Racing League / Champ Car

A little more than a week since the merger between the IRL and Champ Car was made infamous, teams went out to Sebring, FL from March 3-6, 2008 to do some testing of the new road course version of the Indy car. new additions were made to the cars, some of which are: paddle shift gearboxes, collapsible steering columns, & etc. Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske lead the session with a time of 52.42 seconds (114.689 mph) on the final day of testing. The Indy Racing League season begins @ Homestead Miami Speedway for the Gainsco Indy 300, March 29, 2008

American Le Mans Series / Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series

The countdown to the 56Th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring is less than a week away, and all the teams are ready. for the first time this year, French manufacturer, Peugeot, will race in the 12 hours, most likely as a preparation race for the 24 hours of Le Mans. I personally expect Audi to take the win, like they have done in years past, but other teams, like the Team Penske Porsche's, as well as Peugeot themselves (they finished second to the Audi's at Last year's Le Mans 24 Hour), may make the race a little challenging for them to do so. The race begins on March 15, 2008, and is the season opener to the American Le Mans Series

The Rolex Sports Car Series ends their 4 week long break with some testing taken at the Homestead Miami Speedway, last week. their season continues on March 29, 2008 @ Homestead, on the same weekend as the Indy Racing League Indy Car Series

Formula One

The 2008 Formula One World championship Begins on Sunday - march 16, 2008 in Melborune, Australia, at the Albert Park Circuit. All teams, such as McLaren, Ferarri, BMW Williams, and Renault and the Middle East. It should be an exciting season, especially after the amazing season we had last year, with teams having brand new chassis to start, and since they have concluded their testing at tracks in Europe and the Middle East, as well. It was a great season in F1 last year, as well as a controversial one on and off the track - with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton almost winning the championship as a rookie - missing out to Kimi Raikkonen of Frearri, which has never been done in the history of the world championship, and ended up being the closest points race in history - by a single point. Hopefully, McLaren and Ferarri will keep their noses clean this year

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Unification - And The Long and Winding Road To It...

Finally, it took 12 years, hundreds of races, many gallons of fuel, and sets of tires to make it happen. The Indy Racing League's Tony George and Champ Car's (Formerly known as CART) Kevin Kalkhoven has reunited after a 12 year split, that has damaged the fabric of open wheel racing in North America. When I was a little kid, around 13 or so, I first had my real glimpse of open wheel racing with the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 - 1 year before the split. I was flipping through the television one Sunday afternoon, and i got to this channel, showing the beautiful Indianapolis Motor soon as Scott Goodyear passed the pace car, and lost the race due to a black flag penalty. Jacques Villenuve won that year, but the next year would be completely different. Of course i didn't know either series well, or the ramifications of what the split caused at the time. to me it was just more racing to watch on the television. So in 1996 I sat there, tape recorder in hand, to watch Buddy Lazier, a no name compared to the likes of Unser, Andretti, or Mears, win the famous race.

Over the years, I began to notice certain things about CART & The IRL - like the attendance being down at most, if not all of the IRL & CART events, Indy was slowly losing its infamous luster, and most fans were complaining about the Dallara & G Force chassis in the IRL being powered by the likes of Oldsmobile (soon to be Chevrolet) and Infinity, not sounding like "real" race cars. CART, on the other hand, had Unser, Zanardi, Andretti, the best road courses, street circuits, and ovals (except Indy) and Turbocharged Honda, Toyota, Ford & Mercedes Benz power with Reynard, Lola, & Swift chassis. Real race cars as some might have said, but this was all before CART CEO Andrew Craig resigned, and a succession of stand in CEO's came through the boardroom- Bobby Rahal, being the most notable, followed by the series eventually filing for bankruptcy in 2002, along with most of the well known Champ Car teams at the time, moving over to the IRL

In 2000, However, the very first sign of unification was a relatively small one - Chip Ganassi Coming to Indianapolis with Juan Pablo Montoya and Jimmy Vasser to race in the Indianapolis 500. Montoya Won the race, a feat no rookie has done since Graham Hill in 1966, but little did he know is that he, Jimmy, and the team started sowing the seeds of unification. years followed along with more CART teams coming to Indy (Roger Penske came the following year, winning with Helio Castroneves - Former CART driver) along with rumors, talks and statements....some true, some not so true, but they were all leading to the moment Robin Miller, of Speed Channel, leaked the story to the general public, earlier this year

So after realizing the years of politics, and angry fans, and watching both series crumble to NASCAR's overall dominance of the sport in North America, am I happy they got back together?


but my only thing is that some people will unfortunately be left out in the cold, and it seems unfair, somewhat. Engine builder - Cosworth, has no where to go, along with a majority of Champ Car employees, and Panoz - chassis manufacturer to champ car. several tracks will also feel the blow, such as Toronto, Cleveland, Laguna Seca, Assen, and Edmonton, with Long Beach being one of the few tracks spared on the schedule. Time will tell on how far things will go between both series, and who knows...It may give NASCAR a run for its money, in the top spot of #1 morsport in North America.

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